The trail ends in The Boston Globe article Elizabeth Warren was key in asbestos case, but it started in the article Brown sharpens attacks as Warren woos voters. You can also read Fact Check: In Travelers Case, Warren Fights for Victims’ Compensation.
The starting article describes the most recent attempt by Scott Brown to turn Elizabeth Warren’s good deeds into something bad.
In the press conference at his headquarters, Brown sought to keep the focus on Warren’s role in the asbestos lawsuit. He stood before a bank of television cameras and held up papers that showed the $212,000 Travelers Insurance paid Warren for her work in the case.
Brown said Warren’s advocacy on behalf of the insurance giant flies in the face of her reputation for sticking up for “little guys.”
As the Globe reported in May, Warren did represent Travelers in the 2009 asbestos case, but at the time, the company was seeking to unlock a $500 million settlement account for victims, a step many victims supported. After Warren’s work on the case had ended, however, Travelers won a separate court ruling that allowed the company to avoid paying out the settlement. That ruling is under appeal.
“Elizabeth Warren got involved to protect the settlement,” against a challenge from another insurance company, said David J. McMorris, a lawyer at Thornton & Naumes in Boston, who represented victims in the case.
McMorris and several officials from an asbestos workers’ union showed up outside Brown’s headquarters to defend Warren’s role in the lawsuit.
“It should be very, very clear the victims would have no chance to get paid by Travelers were it not for the work of Elizabeth Warren,” McMorris told reporters. “She’s been with the victims then, and she’s with the victims now.”
If you follow the link at the beginning of this blog post or the same link in the excerpt above from The Boston Globe article, you will find a more complete description (4 web pages) of the Travelers case.
Warren says she was fighting for an arcane but important principle in taking on the case: the constitutionality of allowing bankrupt companies facing a flood of lawsuits to form what are known as trusts. The trusts are large bank accounts that set aside money for current and future victims.
Warren says that the trusts provide a fair system to distribute the money – rather than first come, first served. But companies only will agree to them if they receive protection from future lawsuits.
“The issue I was focused on like a laser was the constitutionality of preserving the trust, because the trust is a critical tool for making sure that people who’ve been hurt have a fair shot at compensation,’’ she said. “Without it, millions of people who’ve already been injured will get nothing, and millions more in the future will get nothing.’’
All I know about this case is what I have read in The Boston Globe, so it is really going out on a limb to draw any conclusions. Even though there are more nuances than the conclusion I am about to draw, in essence, I still believe the following conclusion to be a good one.
The fact that an experienced, expert witness and attorney could be tricked by the meanderings of our legal system is further proof of Elizabeth Warren’s claim that the system is rigged against the little guy in favor of the big guy. If she could be fooled, what chance do you and I have when going up against the armies of lawyers of the big corporations?
This is exactly why it is important to send Elizabeth Warren to the Senate. She wants to try her best to level the playing field. Her invention, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is already working and making some headway in this direction.
The “nasty” corporations that Scott Brown thinks that Warren tried to help do their cheating are exactly the ones he does not want to tax because they are “job creators.” Are you a hypocrite, when you try to call someone else, who is sincerely trying to help the victims, a hypocrite? Even before that accusation Scott Brown was the true hypocrite. We must not reward people like Scott Brown by reelecting them as Senators.
It might also be noted that the second article contains the quote:
Warren is considered a leading authority on bankruptcy, and the Travelers case was among a very few that reach the heights of the Supreme Court. She began writing and lecturing about bankruptcy trusts in the 1980s. The trust issue was also addressed in a 1,100-page congressional report on bankruptcy law, drafted in 1995 by Warren, the primary adviser for the National Bankruptcy Review Commission. An attorney who worked with Warren on that commission was heading Travelers’ legal team and called her when the issue boiled up to the highest court.
I am not sure that the people of Massachusetts fully appreciate the high regard that the professionals hold for Elizabeth Warren. Do any knowledgeable and professional people hold Scott Brown in such high regard?
If the people of Massachusetts only knew what I do about Elizabeth Warren, they would all vote for her in an instant.
I put that previous sentence in only because I know how much it irks a particular letter writer who complained about this attitude by the “liberals” of Massachusetts.